The Family Way
4 journalers for this copy...
A spot prize I won at the Brisbane Convention's quiz night.
A reasonably enjoyable and well-written story that asks big questions about what it means to be a family. Does it have to be Mum, Dad and the kids? Can a childless couple really be a family? Are family ties built on blood or love? It could have been a really good book, except for one thing that seriously annoyed me (spoiler (and rant!) follows, highlight to read): the stupid assumption of the author that every woman has a built-in desire for children, so that she will never feel complete without them. At the beginning of the book one of the three sisters, Cat (good name!), is in a long-term relationship but is happily childless and has no wish to change that. As I read the description of her feelings on the matter, I had a horrible feeling that she'd "see the light" before the end of the book. And to my disappointment, I was right - by half way through she was starting to feel inadequate without a child, and before you could blink she was desperately trying to get pregnant (and of course, at the end of the book, when she's had her baby, she muses on the fact that now her life finally has meaning - I think I'm going to be sick!) Grrrr! The myth that all women must want children is I think one of the most damaging ideas out there. Yes, many women (probably the majority) do want children, and for some women having children is their be-all and end-all. But there are also a lot of women out there who DON'T want children, and don't feel that they've failed in life by not having them. I am in my late 30s, so according to the myth my biological clock should be ringing its alarm loudly and I should be racing to fulfill my destiny while I've still got time. But I'm not - I'm happy as I am, I have absolutely no desire for a child of my own. And it's not through lack of opportunity - I'm in a very stable relationship and we are financially secure, so there's nothing to stop me having children if I wanted them. And it's not that I don't like children - I've got two delightful nephews that I love, and spoil rotten when they visit me, but even when I held them when they were a few hours old (the exact time when according to received wisdom I should have gone all "clucky") I didn't even feel the slightest wish for one of my own. And it's not like I'm some sort of heartless freak - from talking to women friends I know there's plenty of others out there who feel the same. But society frowns on those of us who are too open about not fitting the myth, so some women have children anyway, just to keep everyone else happy, and others silently put up with the unwarranted pity of people who assume they must have fertility problems (why else haven't they had kids by now?), and there are only a few of us who will stand up and say "I don't have children because I don't want children, and no, I'm not going to change my mind just because I've held a baby!"
Sorry, rant over. I just wish Cat had been allowed to stay as a happily childless woman, which I think would have fitted in well to the book's concluding theme that family is what you make it. And I wish that the only woman in the book who does stay true to her dislike of motherhood right to the end, Cat's mother Olivia, wasn't automatically portrayed as such an evil heartless cow just because she wasn't particularly maternal.
Picked this up on Friday night at the convention. I have just finished Man and Boy by the same author so thought I would try another of his books. Thanks Futurecat, was great seeing you. Didn't we have a great time!
A convention photo will be added soon.
While this was all right I found it a bit irritating at times. None of the characters really struck a chord with me and all the babies and suchlike was a bit too "sickly sweet" for my tastes. I agree with your spoiler Futurecat, not everyone wants children and lots of people (my sister included) are very happy without them.
Journal Entry 5
St Lees Restaurant in Dunedin, Otago New Zealand on Monday, May 08, 2006
I plan to release this at tonights meetup.
Journal Entry 6
Octagon in Dunedin, Otago New Zealand on Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Released 14 yrs ago (5/23/2006 UTC) at Octagon in Dunedin, Otago New Zealand
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Left on one of the seats beside the Robbie Burns statue on Wednesday afternoon.
Happy reading to the finder...
Journal Entry 7
on Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Me and My 7th form class were on a field trip (on WED 5/23/2006, 1:50 pm) and stopped beside the Robbie Burns Statue. We found the book and chucked it up onto the statue for a laugh. Our teacher was running late and we were getting bored so we retrieved the book from the Statue and I started reading, soon I was hooked. We are from Lawrence (A hick town out in the south) and I really enjoyed the book! I'm going to CHCH next week so am gonna drop it off there.